Maryland Sports Betting Could Be Just Days Away From Online Expansion

  • A regulatory committee could award up to ten licenses during a Wednesday meeting
  • Sports betting was legalized in Maryland in 2021 but did not allow for online operators
  • Governor Larry Hogan said that a variety of obstacles threatened the delay until 2023
  • The director of the Maryland Lottery projected $25-$30m in tax dollars in year one
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Maryland is nearly ready to expand to online sports betting pending a Wednesday meeting. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Going digital 

The expansion of Maryland sports betting into the online world is almost here.

could award up to ten online betting licenses after a Wednesday meeting

Although an official date for the market’s launch has not been announced, the Sports Wagering Application Review Commission (SWARC) revealed that it could award up to ten online betting licenses after a Wednesday meeting. In good news for hopeful bettors, the meeting was brought forward from its original scheduled date next week.

Maryland voters approved sports betting legalization in a 2020 referendum, and Governor Larry Hogan signed a bill into law in May 2021. However, while retail establishments currently enjoy full access to the market, online providers do not.

The pressure is on

Technically, online sportsbooks could go live before the end of the week, if not as soon as the meeting ends. However, industry experts expect online sportsbooks to launch sometime between next Monday and Thanksgiving.

Maryland casinos could not accept sports wagers until over a year after legalization came into effect in May 2021. Meanwhile, nearby Virginia and Washington DC already have both in-person and online sportsbooks in operation.

“If you want to do it right then and there, and you want to do it on your phone they’re like ‘oh, I’m sorry you got to go to Virginia or you gotta go to DC!’ but we need that here in Maryland,” one Maryland sports bettor told FOX 5. “We’ve been needing that!”

had to overcome a variety of hurdles

Despite the long layovers and local concern, Gov. Hogan said that his office has had to overcome a variety of hurdles that threatened to delay the launch until 2023. “To reach this point, we have had to overcome countless legal, political, and bureaucratic delays that threatened to push back the launch past the Super Bowl next year,” Hogan said in a written statement.

Gearing up for launch

Several top sportsbooks, including FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM, are readying themselves for expansion into Maryland. Each interested sportsbook had to agree on a partnership with a local entity as part of their entry requirements.

A few of the sportsbooks are already running pre-launch promotions, promising players free bets if they register before the market makes its official launch. SWARC’s midweek meeting will ultimately decide when companies will be able to offer their full online services in Maryland.

“Based on that action on Wednesday we’ll know, and we’ll communicate with all of the awardees, when and how we finalize the controlled demonstrations and announce the start date,” Martin said. “Everyone who’s ready will be ready to go.”

Maryland sports betting could create $25-30m in tax revenue in its first year

John Martin, director of the Maryland Lottery, said that Maryland sports betting could create $25-$30m in tax revenue in its first year post-online expansion. The state has generated nearly 4.67m in tax dollars in 10 months of retail betting operations, which is an annual trajectory of roughly $5.6m. This is just 18%-22% of the estimated amount that online could help generate.